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Fringe Benefits: what to do when a nearby show disturbs yours...

The Edinburgh Festival is in full swing. I sometimes can't believe what an awesome city this can be.

When it's full and buzzing and there are people on every corner I love it. We had some sunshine for a couple of days this week so I think that was summer. I was thrilled to be present for it.

Now we are all in the swing of our shows and not panicking about them, it means we can go out and not only see other shows but do late night ones too. I've seen lots of great shows. I'm so lucky to know so many funny, talented people. Really - I looked at the boards at The Pleasance and was shocked at how many funny folk I know.

I saw Celia Paquola at The Gilded Balloon who does the best -and only - impression of mayonnaise I've ever seen. For really dark humour I loved seeing Mark Nelson - also at The Gilded Balloon. Some of my favourite laughs are the ones when you gasp first and then laugh. I do find humour in the darkest situations. I'm not sure if it's a Scottish thing or a Celtic thing in general. My Irish husband and I have some of our biggest laughs at the darkest subjects. It may well be a cathartic thing.

Last night I got to see Fred Macaulay's Frederendum at The Assembly Rooms on George Street, which was great. Scotland has such a huge decision to make and it's great to have a little more information with a comic twist.

Typically there are loads of shows I can't see because they are on at the same time as me. Henry Naylor's play looks amazing but unfortunately I'll miss it as it's on between 5.15 and 6.15 so that rules me out. The same goes for Stephen Bailey and Gordon Southern. Now Gordon Southern is a stable-mate of mine. He is in the room nest door to mine at The Gilded Balloon and a mate of mine. We were very proud to win Rob Deering's Beat This on Saturday. Around 15 minutes into my show, his music kicks in. I've mentioned it before and we discussed that about 15 minutes into his show, he can hear me shouting my head off. His music has been getting louder and louder this week, so I mentioned it was getting really loud and maybe it should be a little quieter.

Tonight I began my show and started chatting to my lovely, lovely audience. Around 15 minutes in, Gordon's music kicks in. Tonight was louder than ever before! Naughty Gordon Southern. Needless to say my loud bits were louder too in retaliation. There was also another couple of loud bits in his show. Hmmm. I am beginning to think that this may be the start of a noise war. Tomorrow I may have to get my audience up on their feet stomping and clapping. We'll see.

As I am a week in to my run, tomorrow marks the start of the kids' fun time. We have plans to see all sorts of stuff. There is a great show on at Summerhall. It's a dance piece about a shadow getting its own ideas about what it wants to do. It's a Spanish dance company called Malasombra. I'm very excited. It should be fun. There also visits planned to the Pleasance Kids Zone, Pants Down Rock Circus and Feet Don't Fail Me Now - which is a New Orleans kind-band-style with the most energetic tap dancing.

We will be interspersing the kid's shows with some trips to the park. I love the kids' park in The Meadows. We go there every year and the children love it. We also try to squeeze in a trip up to the Observatory at Blackford Hill as it's my favourite view of Edinburgh - you get The Castle and Arthurs Seat in the same vista. Amazing.

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